The Garden Valley School Division continues to ensure their buildings, among other things, are accessible to all.
The division has been working diligently to meet the regulations outlined in the Customer Service portion of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act, which came into effect in 2015. The Customer Service regulation involves things like assistive devices, support persons, service animals, the built environment, and communications.
For staff and students, Assistant Superintendent Doreen Prazak said their schools are "accessible buildings." She said they are now putting their focus to the general public to ensure facilities are accessible to them as well, not only with the buildings, but that information can be given in different formats if requested.
"The one thing that we want to ensure is that our frontline staff, when the public comes to us, that we offer different formats upon request," said Prazak. "So we are going to make sure that we have signs in the offices stating, "do you need information or service in a different way? Please ask us." For any public events, if someone needs any accommodations, Prazak says they also want people to feel free to ask for that, and they will try to ensure whatever they need is available to them.
Prazak said they also want to make sure their website is accessible. She says that might mean font size can be changed, or if someone needs a reader to read the site, that that is also available.
In meeting the various sections laid out in customer service piece of the act, Prazak says, as of yet, there has been no cost attached to the implementation. "Right now the cost would be staff time to analyze where we're at, what we have, and what we need to work on. Other than that we've so far we've done what we can without any cost to it." Prazak said as they move forward, and they look at pieces like a visual alarm system or any build environment pieces, there could be budgetary items, and that will be looked at for next year's operating budget.
Full details of the GVSD Accessibility Plan can be found on the GVSD website.